Steyer PAC airs latest attack ad in Iowa Senate race

Source: Elana Schor, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, August 7, 2014

The political action committee of billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer today unveiled the second, wind-power-themed TV ad in a $2.6 million series of spots slamming Iowa Republican Senate nominee Joni Ernst for her endorsement of a conservative advocacy group’s pledge to oppose the elimination of tax credits.

The new ad from NextGen Climate Action, organized as a super PAC that can accept and spend unlimited amounts but largely self-funded by Steyer, cites Ernst’s endorsement of the anti-tax pledge made famous by the conservative group Americans for Tax Reform in questioning her support for Iowa wind projects. Ernst earlier this year voted in favor of an Iowa state Senate resolution supporting the embattled federal production tax credit (PTC) for wind power, but her campaign has said the Republican would support removing all energy subsidies en masse.

“Her pledge to the special interests could cost Iowa jobs,” the NextGen ad’s narrator says.

Ernst faces Rep. Bruce Braley (D) in a closely watched contest to replace retiring Sen. Tom Harkin (D), whose GOP counterpart, Sen. Chuck Grassley, is one of his party’s strongest advocates for PTC extension. NextGen has singled out the Iowa race as one of seven it plans to invest heavily in to ensure that candidates face electoral consequences for opposing action on climate change (E&E Daily, May 22).

NextGen’s first ad in its anti-Ernst series cited her support for the Americans for Tax Reform pledge before charging the Republican nominee with backing tax benefits for U.S. companies that outsource jobs. That claim rests on Americans for Tax Reform’s opposition to a bill that ended tax breaks for companies operating overseas without offsetting the loophole closure elsewhere in the tax code, a connection that the fact-checking website rated “false” yesterday.

As NextGen rolled out its latest ad, the organizers of the SXSW Eco environmentalism conference in Austin, Texas, announced that Steyer would deliver a keynote speech at its annual gathering in October — part of a sharp uptick in the former hedge fund manager’s public profile as his midterm election effort continues.

Click here to view NextGen’s new anti-Ernst ad.